Turn up the music – How background music affects sales

Scientific research has shown that the music we hear in the shops and businesses we visit has a powerful effect on mood and buying behaviour. In 1982, Ronald E Millman conducted a comprehensive study and published his findings in the Journal of Marketing.

Results showed that when background music was faster in a store, customers spent less, because seemingly in time with the music, they made their way through the shop more quickly, got what they came for, and browsed very little, or not at all. When slower music was played, though, customers slowed down too, taking more time to look through the shelves and often spending more.

At CZ Electronics, many of our partners in the retail sector are directly affected by customer behaviour patterns and we share a bit of insight that may be of interest in terms of the playlists that may directly affect buying habits.

Why music matters

There is more to keeping customers engaged than simply putting the right products on your shelves. Music can be used to make customers feel more at home in-store and have a direct effect on their overall shopping experience.

In 1973, renowned marketing Professor Philip Kotler published a study in the Journal of Retailing, which discussed how a shop’s atmosphere could influence buyers’ behavior. Kotler suggested that it was not just the product that influenced buyer decisions, but the total experience of visiting the store.

This experience encompasses service, packaging, atmosphere and music. Shopping is a sensual experience, involving sight, smell, touch and sound. And the sounds people hear in particular when they are shopping play an important role in setting the scene for purchase.

Picture the classic scene at any South African retail store over the festive season. Shoppers are encouraged to spend and be merry with the help of colourful decorations, branding and Christmas music. Although this is common practice, however, many scholars are still on the fence as to whether shoppers are more, or less inclined to spend due to festive sounds. Some customers love it, and get into the festive spirit quite easily. Others, however, find it somewhat irritating.

Numbers don’t lie

It’s not only customers that are affected by music. Another recent study showed that 81% of staff performed better when they were listening to music. According to Healthline, the reasons for this are quite clear. Music decreases fatigue, boosts performance, and can even help with heart health.

Ultimately, it is evident that the music you choose to play in your business has a direct effect – both on the performance of your staff and on the buying behaviour of your customers. If you are looking for any suggestions as to the type of music that may help your business hit the right note with staff and customers, try the Cloudcover list of research-backed retail playlists here.

CZ Electronics – Bringing Tomorrow Home.

Manufacturing South Africa

Electronics South Africa

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